The ACT Government has launched a review into the future of lawn bowls in the territory after four facilities have been forced to shut down over the last decade.
Lawn bowl clubs have been the target for developers over the years, with concern rising about the long term future of clubs across the nation’s capital and whether more clubs would be sold or redeveloped.
As a result, the ACT Government, in partnership with Bowls ACT, is undertaking a strategic review of bowls in the ACT to assist with future planning considerations for the sport.
RSM Australia will conduct the review into lawn bowls facilities across the territory, which will detail the annual cost of operating and maintaining bowling greens for each lawn bowls facility.
The review will also identify the short and long term future for each of the existing lawn bowls facilities and will look at membership and usage to see how many lawn bowling greens are required in the ACT.
An ACT Government spokesperson said lawn bowls club around the ACT should not concerned about the review and said the sport remains an important community activity.
“This review intends to better understand the cost to the licensed club sector to deliver and maintain lawn bowls facilities, including in light of the closure of four facilities over the last 10 years,” the spokesperson said.
“Lawn bowls is an important sport in our community, contributing to healthy and active lifestyles.
“This is a positive step for bowls clubs and will provide useful information about the current operation and status of lawn bowls clubs in the ACT.”
RSM Australia will consult with the relevant licensed clubs that directly own and maintain the lawn bowls facilities, including the Vikings Group, Labor Club, Yowani Country Club and the RUC.
Yowani Country Club operations manager Andrew Robinson said the club had seen a steady decline of interest in the sport in the past five years, as memberships numbers continued to drop. Mr Robinson said maintaining the facility is an expensive cost for the club, with greens maintenance a major cost.
Weston Creek Labor Club bowls and events coordinator Ian Whybrow organises corporate bowls and social events at the Labor Club’s three bowling greens and is a member of the Weston Creek Bowling Club.
He said membership numbers at the club have continued to dwindle over the years due to a different demographic.
“A 12-month membership at the bowling club only costs $150 which means you don’t have to pay for green fees,” he said. “We run social bowls on Thursdays and Saturdays which only costs $8, so it isn’t an expensive sport to play.
“I think it’s great the Government is looking into how to help bowling clubs across the ACT. It is a great sport.”
The review is expected to be completed in late October.